After posting my analysis of the Accelerated Snake Benoni in the chess.com forums, I received multiple messages asking me about how I prepared such openings, and what factors I included in the analysis. After replying to one or two, I decided to go ahead and write a whole blog post on the topic, and I hope it proves informative for both the reader and myself as well.
Now, for those of you who missed the discussion of my Accelerated Snake, I will give you a brief run-down here. If you have already read my forum, however, I suggest skipping down to the analysis, which includes new lines previously unpublicized.
The Snake Benoni is an alternative way for Black to play the Benoni, and is often categorized with other alternatives such as the Czech Benoni or the Vulture Defense. In actuality, it is much more like the Modern Benoni than either of the previous options. In short, Black has the following plans:
- Play Bf8-d6-c7-a5, preforming the famous Snake Maneuver. The Bishop on a5 is a strong weapon, and it is a beautiful defender on c7. This gives the second player options if he gets into a tough spot.
- Stop White's Bg5 with a well-timed Nb8-d7-f8-g6 and h6 pawn push.
- Castle quickly and play Re8, putting pressure on the e-file.
- If White plays for a pawn wedge by d6, develop around the pawn with Ba5, b6, Nc6, and Bb7 or Ba6, as the case may be. Black should almost never try to capture the pawn with ideas like ...Qb6.
- In time, Black should gain complete control of the e5-square. As usual in the Benoni, the thematic break of a6 and b5 is also an excellent plan to consider.
There are two main lines in this system.
Now, White's plan beginning with 6. g3 seems to cause a problem, unless you are willing to go in for the masses of theory behind the Nimzo-Indian. While this is fine for some, others would rather play for a Snake Benoni 100% of the time against 1. d4, and the Nimzo-Indian is simply not an option.
So, what is the best way to do this? After some research, I concluded that the move 4. Bd6!? was a viable line. Frankly, I am amazed that it has not been popularized before now. After viewing my analysis, I think you will all agree that it offers Black excellent chances. I have dubbed this opening the Accelerated Snake Benoni.
Now that you have seen my analysis, I will divulge some of my methods for creating new opening ideas. The list below offers suggestions of how to create a new idea:
Method #1: Coordinate Your Pieces
Often, in the midst of a complicated opening, you will find that taking time to coordinate your pieces is the best way to proceed. Currently, I am working on a line in the Sämisch King's Indian Defense which does just that. I will demonstrate it at the end of the article.
Method #2: Convert the Position
Another way of finding an opening novelty is to convert the position to an entirely different idea. This is one of the hardest methods to consider, but it often proves fruitful when you know your opponent's style of play. For example, if your opponent plays an ultra-sharp Najdorf that is not your style, you may need to make some static compensation to slow down the dynamics.
Method #3: Fix a Problem
In the mainline of the Snake Benoni, I have already demonstrated how the move 6. g3 can prove fatal to the Snake lover. After searching around for a while, I decided to try Grandmaster Alex Stripunsky's method of fixing a problem: "Play a Quiet/Prophylactic Move, Play an Intermediate Move, or Change the Move Order." Since there were no strong intermediate moves, and quiet/prophylactic moves are rarely good in openings, I decided on trying to change the move order.
After looking around for quite a bit, I decided to back up to the very beginning. Obviously, the Old Benoni Defense tends to run into issues, so I went ahead to the fourth move, and there I saw it! Suddenly, there was an opportunity. After checking with my computer, I found the option to be quite enthralling. Below, I have included the ways I "proof" a new opening, and prepare it for tournament play.
Proof #1: Computer Analysis
Obviously, in today's world of technology, computers play a huge role in any analysis. I currently use Stockfish to blunder-check sharp continuations, suggest the "best" move, and offer new ideas. Through my engine, I found the saving 5...Be5 move in the Accelerated Snake.
The "Continuous Analysis" feature is generally best, though sometimes I will just play several games against an engine in order to see what ideas it comes up with. Sadly, my Macintosh computer cannot run programs like Rybka or Fritz, but Stockfish serves all practical purposes.
Proof #2: Training Games
Already, I have played a countless number of games in the Accelerated Snake Benoni. Chess.com's "Live Chess" is not as helpful, as I really only enter this line in one game out of ten. However, the online correspondence chess feature has proved useful because of tournaments. I have joined a couple of Benoni-themed events where I could achieve an Accelerated Snake. Still, it's really best to just get a few chess-friends together and challenge them with your new opening.
Proof #3: Games and Materials
In the Chess.com Database, one can only see two games featuring the Accelerated Snake. However, the ideas in the mainline Snake Benoni still proved useful throughout my analysis. Also, chess.com's Snake Benoni Video Lesson was helpful in constructing some of my ideas.
Sämisch KID - 6...Nfd7
Now, as I promised, I will also provide some information about my newest opening, the Sämisch KID with 6...Nfd7. So far, this move has been seen in 21 games in the Chess.com Database, yet very little theory has been developed around it. My goal is to analyze it more deeply and popularize it.
The ideas behind this opening are actually quite easy to understand. First, Black's common break 6...c5 is quite strong, but the drawback is obvious: it gambits a pawn. This move order gives support to that break. Also, by not playing 6...Nbd7, Black transfers his pieces to the Queenside, where he is meant to attack. The b8-Knight will look much better on c6. Finally, this new move opens up the g7-Bishop to attack down the a1-h8 diagonal.
Hope you have found my article to be both informative and interesting! If you see any errors in my analysis, please contact me or post a comment. Thanks for reading,